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Long Beach 1/2 Marathon Race Report – Part Deux

13 Oct

In which our heroine almost melts but eeks out a PR

Welcome back! When last we saw our heroine, she was waking up after only about 4 hours of sleep. Yikes!

Long Beach Outfit

Yes, it's blurry. Yes, it was 4:15 am. Deal.

I had laid out all of my gear the night before. When I thought  I was running the full marathon, I was worried I’d still be running when the Giants’ game started. I’m one of those crazy superstitious people who thinks that they can affect the outcome of a professional sporting event by wearing or failing to wear certain clothes. So I knew I had to wear a Giants shirt and I finally found a Giants’ shirt that wasn’t cotton (kids large) – scoured every Target in the tri-state area for that baby. Once I realized how warm it was going to be, I threw a tank top on underneath. I figured if I got too hot, I could always take one shirt off. I also opted for a Giants visor. In general I don’t wear hats when I run. I’ve got a lot of hair and it gets really hot under there. For some random reason I grabbed the visor at the last minute and I’m really glad I did [see what I did there with the foreshadowing?].

oh, hey.

I grabbed 2 mini Lara bars and a Starbucks instant iced coffee and I was off. Yep. Breakfast of champions people. At least I remembered breakfast this time [I’m looking at you, PCRF 1/2 of death]. Getting to the race was relatively smooth. Unlike a lot of other runners I didn’t get stuck on the 710 largely because I got lost and didn’t take the 710. Deplorable sense of direction to the rescue! I did circle my pre-paid parking lot for about 20 minutes before realizing it was where I needed to be. Because I’m great.

I was debating back and forth between taking a Gu every 4 miles and every 5. I grabbed 3 before I left the house, figuring I could make the decision based on how I was feeling. I also decided to carry along my handheld filled with Strawberry Lemonade nuun. I don’t know if it was the smartest idea. Yes, I got more electrolytes, but I also ended up cruising through some of the water stops when I should have stopped. It was more of a security blanket than anything else – I had run all of my long runs with it and couldn’t quite imagine not having it.

As I was leaving the parking garage to head over to the start, I saw on Twitter that one of my Ragnar teammates Elisabeth had locked all of her gear in her car. Oh no! I told her I had some extra Gus she was welcome to – decision made, I was doing every 5 miles instead of every 4. I tried to catch up with her before the start but got caught in the obscenely long porta-potty lines. Luckily I was able to catch up with Lis and Heather (another one of the Ragnar ladies) around mile 4 and was able to give Lis my extra Gu.

So how was the actual race?

Meh. I felt really good at the beginning. Much, much too good. The energy of running in such a large crowd was great but it made me start way too fast. I knew I was going to positive split, I knew there’s no such thing as banking time but I just couldn’t help myself. I wasn’t drinking enough water but by the time I realized it, I was already well into mile 8. It was also stupidly hot and sunny on the course. I’m convinced if I hadn’t worn my visor, I would have absolutely melted. Most of the middle of the course is out along the beach path which is beautiful but provides no shade at all. Once again, the New York football Giants save the day. All hail the New York Giants! [and if you know that movie reference, please move to LA and be my best friend.]

you can't tell from this photo, but when I run I ACTUALLY look like Phoebe from Friends.

Around mile 11.5 I got a really bad knot in my right hamstring that just wouldn’t go away. I also realized that I had somehow added almost .5 miles to the course according to my Garmin. Because I’m great. My Garmin beeped 13 mile and I couldn’t even see the finish line – that was a mental killer. I did way more walkin in these last 2 miles than I’d like to admit. Add that to the list of things to work on for next time.

ugh, another 1/2 mile? really?

I eeked out a PR but considering how poorly my first 2 1/2 marathons went, that’s not saying much. Overall, I was pleased with the beginning of the run, disappointed with the end and frustrated with the heat. Still, I would definitely run Long Beach again [hopefully in cooler temperatures]. Everything from the expo to the post race space blankets (which I totally stole to use at NY) went so, so smoothly. The organizers did a tremendous job. For a race that big it was outstanding – definitely better than R’n’R LA last year!

yeah, i'm slow, it's cool.

Stay tuned for our next installment: Mistakes I made in Long Beach that I absolutely cannot make in NY.

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Missing: Running Mojo

31 Aug

Last seen here eating 15 miles for breakfast. If lost, please return to Gidget. Reward.

No, seriously. Where did it go? My 15 mile run was amazing. The next day I got a random, spur of the moment invitation to New Orleans (which was amazing! Thanks, sister!). I ran a couple of times while I was there – including a long run that made me think I was actually going to die. I know that those runs sucked because my spoiled So Cal self isn’t used to suffocating, soul-crushing humidity. I totally get that. Logically anyway. But ever since then, all of my runs have felt sluggish. I just can’t seem to get my head in the game. My legs feel ok with the exception of some weird knee pain that I’ve been pretending isn’t there. But everything else about my runs has been craptacular. My lungs feel like they’re burning, I can’t catch my breath, I have a perennial stitch in my side and my head is just NOT there. Every time I take a step, I want to stop running. No bueno.

I’m hoping I just need a few days’ break. I have 18 miles on schedule for this weekend but I’ve already made the executive decision that I’ll be ok with anything over 15. I don’t want to beat myself up and scare my running mojo away. I figure if I keep pretending everything is sunshine and rainbows, I can make it so. What, it doesn’t work that way? Psh.

Where do you go to find your running mojo? Anyone have any to spare?

Long Run Fail

27 Aug

I was supposed to run 16 miles this morning. I made it 4 and every single step my knee hurt. I’m trying really hard not to panic. I’ve been icing and rolling and ibuprofen-ing. I may or may not try to make up the rest of the miles. Part of me thinks it might be better to rest it for a couple of days and see what happens.

REALLY trying not to panic.

Insanity Doesn’t Run in My Family, It Practically Gallups

13 May
Just a quick update. I am alive. I am officially done with law school and, barring any unforeseen failures, I am about to become a JD. It’s all very exciting.

My parents came in to town on Wednesday night, the same day I finished exams. I’ve been pretty much going non-stop ever since. My grandma, aunt, uncle and 3 small children are getting in today and my sister and her husband come in tomorrow morning. My apartment is a mess, my car hasn’t been cleaned in months and my sanity is hanging on by a thread.

I was so excited when I went to bed on Wednesday night because I didn’t have to set an alarm. I fell asleep around 1 am … and woke up at 5:30. I could not for the life of me fall back to sleep. I laid in bed watching some super awesome early morning television (did you know that Boy Meets World is still on television?!?! Now you do. You’re welcome). After a few hours of laying in bed feeling annoyed that I couldn’t sleep, I decided to go for a run, since I knew my parents would be jetlagged and I’d have some time to kill. I figured I’d just do a quick 2 miles around my neighborhood. Bad plan. During my 2 shorter runs last week, I noticed a lot of stiffness in my right hamstring. On Saturday, I ran 4 measly miles on the treadmill. During my run I felt great, but about an hour later (as I met my friend at a dog park to chase puppies) my right hip was killing me. Like, limping ow it hurts don’t make me walk the two blocks back to my car, killing me). I went home (well, I went to the library. Then I went home …) iced, rolled, stretched and the pain was completely gone by Monday. I didn’t have a chance to run again until yesterday. My run itself was fine, but after the run, my hip was killing me again! It didn’t help that my dad decided he really wanted to see Venice Beach, so could we please walk from the Venice Pier to the Santa Monica Pier (6 miles round trip) and oh, we actually have to be somewhere this afternoon, so we have to walk really quickly on the way back and wait, you weren’t wearing the right shoes for that? Also, in case anyone was wondering, it’s kind of mortifying walking the Venice boardwalk with your parents.

I don’t know if my whole family is going to make it through this weekend alive. Oh well. Gidget’s Rule #5 – Roll with the punches.

You May Be Right …

10 May
I may be crazy. In keeping with yesterday’s “I am really good at random trivia” theme, today is Billy Joel’s birthday. When I was younger, I loved Billy Joel. L.O.V.E.D. I stole all of his cds from my Mom and used to listen to them pretty exclusively from 6th to 8th grade [no one said I was cool]. I’ve seen him in concert twice and both times were amazing. I will raise a glass of wine in honor of Mr. Joel’s birthday, just like I did for Mr. Truman’s birthday last night [and whatever random famous person I can find tomorrow].

In other news, this weeks is the epitome of hectic. I somehow got suckered into working full time today ad tomorrow [for my unpaid dead end job, in case anyone was keeping score at home]. I have an exam on Wednesday night that I have studied approximately 45 minutes for. My parents on coming into town on Wednesday night. My grandma/aunt/uncle/small children are coming on Friday. My sister and her husband are coming on Saturday. Oh yeah, and I’m graduating from law school on Sunday. Somewhere between now and Wednesday I have to clean my apartment, study for my exam and do about 87 loads of laundry (because apparently you ca’t wear tempo shorts to graduation. Who knew?). I’m also trying desperately not to have a nervous breakdown. I’m hoping to get some running time in, but I’m not holding my breath.

Second Place Is First Loser

9 May
Anyone’s who has ever read this blog or met me in real life knows that I am not the best runner. Let’s not kid ourselves, 9/10 I’m the worst runner. I’m never going to win a race or even my age division (until I’m in the 70+ category – then watch out!). Despite what my lack of hardcore training may suggest, I don’t like this about my running. When I was growing up, “winning” was everything. If you weren’t the best at something or you couldn’t be the best at something in the future, there was no point in doing it. “Second place is just first loser.”

I think because of this, I’ve always been a pretty competitive person and [not to toot my own horn but] I’ve been pretty successful in everything I’ve done. Until now. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since the Boston Marathon. Let’s face it, I’m never going to BQ. For most “casual” runners [i.e. those who do not get paid to run], Boston is the holy grail. That’s what people work for and train for. It’s the great accomplishment of running. And I’m never going to get there. So why run? Why put my body through 1/2 marathons that I have to slog through and come out demoralized? Yes, I like running. Yes, I like what running has done for my weight. But is it time to give up competitive running?

All of this isn’t helping my panic about graduation. I worked my rear end off for 3 years and as hard as I tried, I’m not going to graduate at the top of my class. I’m not going to graduate with a fancy big law job and a 6 figure salary. I’m going to graduate in the middle of my class, from a middle tier law school, with no job and 6 figures worth of student loans. I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, was it worth it? I’m not sure.

I’m not going to give up competitive running just yet, just like I’m not going to give up practicing law (I totally couldn’t afford to NOT be a lawyer right now). I’m focusing instead on what I AM the best at. I’m the best at straightening my hair. Seriously. I’ve got super thick, super curly hair down to the middle of my back and I can straighten it in 15 minutes with no mirror. I’m a pro. I am the best at random trivia – for example, today is not only Mother’s Day, but also Harry Truman’s Birthday and V-E Day. Your fun fact of the day. You’re welcome. I was once the best at flip cup, although I am woefully out of practice. Apparently it’s not acceptable to binge drink and play psuedo-drinking games as an adult. Who knew.

What are you the best at? 

>If I Distract You With My Blogging Fail, You Won’t Notice My Running Fail …

11 Mar

>

Ok, so I’m officially the worst blogger ever. Real life has eaten me a little bit. There have been some amazingly stressful things going on and this isn’t really the right place for them. Needless to say, my life’s been turned a bit upside down and I’m still trying to catch my footing. I promise to be a better blogger from now on.

In fairness, I was also a pretty poor runner in my blogging absence. I did sneak home to NYC for a long weekend this past weekend, which definitely helped heal my soul a little. It did not, however, help my running one bit. I had grand plans of running in NY with my sister, who’s training for her first ½ marathon in May. Things I did not counting on:
       It was VERY cold. Much colder than I anticipated
       I left my running shoes in LA (because I’m a GENIUS)
       I didn’t have a lot of time and a lot of things to do and people to see (and Mardi Gras’ to celebrate…)
So I managed to get 1 lousy, stinking 5 miler in. I also missed a training run because I landed in LA much too hungover to function Wednesday afternoon. I did manage to buy new running shoes, though! I had a gift certificate for a running store near my sister (thanks, Groupon!) and am going to need a new pair between now and my potential quasi-graduation celebration ½ marathon, so I figured I’d pick them up with my gift certificate. I also grabbed some Gus because the only flavor I have left is strawberry banana and that stuff’s just gross.
I promise to be a better blogger. Stay tuned for my review of some awesome products sent to me by the awesome Sarah from Once Upon A (L)ime and my big marathon conundrum.
You know you love my cliff-hangers.